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Discussion Starter #1
I ride a 5 year old Percheron named Moon during my lessons once or twice a week. She was sweet, gentle, lovable horse. Great for trails since she was unspookable.

But, about a month or two ago, she changed suddenly. First, she started to randomly fear water. She refused to cross the creek, which she had crossed many, many times before. Then she refused to so much as step in a puddle.

Next, she started not listening to the little kids who usually rode her in lessons. You had to MAKE her do what you wanted. She would fight you every inch of the way.

Then she started to act like a hunted rabbit. She spooks at everything, and at nothing. She won't stand tied. She won't even let her owner give her shots, which she didn't have ANY problems with before! She ran her owner over!


It's so suddenly and random... What do you think is the problem? I can answer all the questions I can, but she isn't my horse. I may know enough to help though.
 

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It could very well be something physically bothering her. Is she funny when she's in heat? Tis' the season...
 

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Do you have any new barn workers? If so, watch to make sure they aren't abusing any horses.

I have seen instances of behavior changes in horses that coincided with a new worker. Turns out that person was beating some of the horses.

Just wondering.....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It could very well be something physically bothering her. Is she funny when she's in heat? Tis' the season...

I don't think that's it. She's usually good, even in season. Plus, this behavior doesn't stop and start. It's been constant for about two months.

As far as some physically bothering her, maybe... What could it be though? She can't be sore... She's not worked that hard... Her feet as taken care of...Teeth floated...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do you have any new barn workers? If so, watch to make sure they aren't abusing any horses.

I have seen instances of behavior changes in horses that coincided with a new worker. Turns out that person was beating some of the horses.

Just wondering.....

We have new students, but they are five, eight, and ten... One of them is rough with her though. The water crossing thing did start when the rough little kid was riding her... Could that have done it? I don't mean hitting her rough, but always yelling and using a harsh voice, not asking nicely and then harder, just skipping to the hard...

But that's just one little kid. Could one kid do all that?
 

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Lyme disease maybe? Makes for a nasty personality change in a lot of horses.
 

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Little kids being rough *can* change a horse's attitude. Lesson horse I was riding has been wrecked by small kids yanking on his mouth with a curb. I can barely ride him now, he's about as responsive as a brick. He's calm and quiet, wouldn't run off or anything and is definitely not spooky but good luck going anywhere *he* does not feel like going. After wrecking my elbow trying to trot him in a circle, I am done.
 

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If its nothing physical like feet or teeth has she changed sizes? like weight an such? if so the saddle may no longer fit properly and may be hurting her but this is unlikely esspecially if she isnt getting any saddle sores or such.

If there are other people riding her like you said I had a thought but its also unlikely... if any of yall use spurs and shes furry from the winter someone might have split her side and it gone un noticed and just gotten worse....i dont see this happening though.

Did they change bits on her? If she doesnt like a new bit then that could explain her not minding while being ridden, and if her new bit is making her mouth sore, or if your having to handle her more sternly due to it, this could be souring her temperment over all. This is a good possibility but if they havent changed bits this is ruled out.

Who knows maybe she is just sick of having punk little kids ride her and has decided to turn into a witch...if everything else rules out and there is absolutely no reason....you never know?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
-MyBoyPuck:

It would make sense, but she has no fever or stiffness. Wouldn't lyme have made itself apparent by now? It's been quite a while, and, if it was lyme, I'm surprised I don't have a dead horse on my hands.

-Pidge:

Actually, we DID just change bits. She was ridden in a loose ring snaffle, but now she's in a snafle-mouth curb with 4 inch shanks. We changed the bits because non of us of physically strong enough to stop her when she gets excited. She's just run right off with us before and all the pulling we could do didn't stop her.

She started this before we changed the bit, but I do think that the bit may have aggravated her more. I talked to the trainer, and now we have forbidden little kids from riding her until we sort this out.
 

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since the little kids are out of it now you might try changing her back to her old bit and only have decent experienced riders on her. This way the little kids arent jerking on her or being to harsh. Once she realizes no one is going to be mean she may settle down. If she mellows back down and goes back to being her normal self after a while (cause believe me it wont happen over night) then you know its the annoying little kid factor lol
 

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Check out the pulley rein thread on how to get the leverage to stop her in a snaffle. ; )

Also...this doesn't happen often, but it can cause horrible mood changes if she has a ovarian or uterine cyst. I think that's where they are. At any rate, it would be a vet check, which might be a good idea anyway to make sure nothing physical is bugging her.
 

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Another thing that should really be considered is her eyesight. It can affect behavior in odd ways that seem very unconnected.
 

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I agree! I don't think it's her cycles…yes, some mares can be real witches if they have hard cycles, but raging heat doesn't cause inexplicable spooking, but rather more of a general overall ****y, sour attitude. Personally, I would have her eyes checked thoroughly before I decided to change anything. Sure, rough kids can affect her attitude, but that doesn't explain her "hunted rabbit" spookiness and doesn't have anything to do with her not wanting to stand still for the owner when there are no kids around. It sounds, to me anyway, like she is not perceiving things around her the way she's accustomed to…perhaps not seeing or hearing things correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Eye sight! That makes incredible amounts of sense!

When I tried to get her to stand tied, she moves to the side to look at me. Maybe she couldn't see well when she was standing straight? The spookiness, too, adds up.

Most of all, this explains the water. The creek is an almost straight drop down and she has to look carefully were to put her feet to avoid slipping or stepping on stones. If she couldn't see it and hurt herself (which is quite possible), she definitely wouldn't want to go down again. Maybe she just started associating the pain with all water, not just the creek? And the ditch! Yesterday, she refused to cross a ditch! It makes sense that she just couldn't see it well enough to cross safely and didn't want to hurt herself.
 

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I am not usually one of the go get the vet first off kind of people but a rapid change of temperment in a mare is a lot of times triggered by hormonal fluctuation and reproductive system tumors. Could be eye sight too, could be her changing size, could be the kids.

Start with the health first, the rule everything else out.

Also might I add that is the children are not taught to behave on a horse and reprimanded when they do misbehave, they should not be on a horse. It should not have been allowed to escalate to the point that he even had a chance to bother her, or treat her roughly, not only is it not fair to her, but dangerous for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am not usually one of the go get the vet first off kind of people but a rapid change of temperment in a mare is a lot of times triggered by hormonal fluctuation and reproductive system tumors. Could be eye sight too, could be her changing size, could be the kids.

Start with the health first, the rule everything else out.

Also might I add that is the children are not taught to behave on a horse and reprimanded when they do misbehave, they should not be on a horse. It should not have been allowed to escalate to the point that he even had a chance to bother her, or treat her roughly, not only is it not fair to her, but dangerous for him.
I do need to take care of that kid, but I don't want to be rude. I'm not her mother... Mostly, I'm just a huge wimp when it comes to repemanding kids... I'll ask the BO to talk to the kid's mother.
 

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That is a good idea, that kid needs to be reprimanded for the sake of any animal it ever comes in contact with... little monsters lol.
 

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Another thing that should really be considered is her eyesight. It can affect behavior in odd ways that seem very unconnected.
Thank you! I was going to say just that but figured I should real all the post first, I was sure someone would say that.

Cataracts can cause enough of a vision change that the behavior you are seeing matches.
 

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If it's not the bit could it be her eyes? I used to ride a horse that was having issues with his eyes. He started with a fear of water because of the reflections. Then he started spooking at everything because he couldn't see them as well as he could.

lol didn't read the second page : /
 

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I have to agree with Ryle. It sounds like it could be an eyesight problem. Of course, it could be any of those other things but the eyes are the first thing that popped into my head.
 
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